Humanity’s shared values: the key at a historic crossroads

Source:Chinese Social Sciences Today 2022-12-22

In the report to the 20th CPC National Congress, it is stated that “We sincerely call upon all countries to hold dear humanity’s shared values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom; to promote mutual understanding and forge closer bonds with other peoples; and to respect the diversity of civilizations. Let us allow cultural exchanges to transcend estrangement, mutual learning to transcend clashes, and coexistence to transcend feelings of superiority. Let us all join forces to meet all types of global challenges.” The world has once again reached a crossroads in history, and its future course will be decided by all the world’s peoples.

Profound changes of the world

The changes in the world, times, and history that humans now face have not emerged suddenly, but reflect an accumulation of historical problems accumulated as human society progresses towards modernity.

The first change we face is the reform which took place within international political and economic landscapes and governance systems. With the aim of achieving individual freedom and liberation, the modernization process initiated by capitalism has brought about great changes in human society. The story of world history is also that of the global expansion of capitalism. When the capitalism expands to its geographical limits, the economic development of developed capitalist countries will shift from profit pursuit to profit maintenance—exploiting disproportionate international political and economic influence for the protection of their own interests.

Second, a vast number of developing countries have risen collectively with the gradual progression of economic globalization. Particularly, with the rapid development of emerging economies such as China, India, and Brazil and their increasing share in the world economy, unprecedented changes have taken place in world economic pattern. The world economy’s center of gravity has accelerated its shift from the West to the East. In addition, the rise of developing countries has also disrupted the one-way flow of capital and profit to developed capitalist countries. This has resulted in revolutionary change regarding the balance of international power. It has also become increasingly difficult for the previous international political and economic order to sustain itself. In this process, China, with its rapid and sustainable growth, has become a major driving force behind the evolution of the global landscape. It has also continuously contributed new and innovative ideas for the reform of the international governance system.

Third, production methods and lifestyle modes are facing substantial change. Capitalistic modes of production for obtaining material wealth through the plundering of natural resources through large-scale industry has fallen into a profound crisis, which has not only caused global resource depletion, but has also created energy and climate challenges for all mankind. As a result, we are faced with the choice of preserving traditional development methods or transitioning to green and sustainable development. Furthermore, the rise of emerging technological means such as the internet, big data, and artificial intelligence has not only changed the traditional mode of production, but also profoundly changed the way people live.

Choosing humanity’s shared values

The transformations currently facing society thus demand reflection on the changes of the world history in the past century and require us to make prudent choices by taking the common interests of mankind as the basis.

As major capitalist countries rebel against globalization with unilateralism, protectionism, hegemonism, populism, and xenophobia to safeguard their own interests, these actions pose threats to world peace and development. Meanwhile, the themes of our times remain unchanged, and the forces that maintain world peace, development, and openness are also growing. This has been fully demonstrated by the global support around the world for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and a human community with a shared future. The time has come to transform the old world political and economic order.

Only through solidarity, coordination, inclusiveness, and mutually beneficial cooperation, can we promote global sustainable development and solve the global issues facing humanity. To this end, we must transcend individual national and regional interests and the seek consensus of all humanity by standing on the height of world history.

After experiencing the bitter lessons of two world wars, and under the threats of self-destructive nuclear war, the maintenance of world peace has become the premise for all human activities. Choosing humanity’s shared values is not only the basis for coping with the challenges posed by current changes, but also the basis for promoting international political and economic order.


Guo Yanjun is a professor from the School of Philosophy at Heilongjiang University.

Editor:Yu Hui

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